In a day and age when it seems everyone is trying to steal your personal data in the current climate, a VPN can help you avoid that by keeping your online connections secure and private. While sweeping claims of military-grade encryption, or total digital obscurity could be tempting, Consumer Reports’ Yael Grauer recommends that you look for more concrete evidence that a service is authentic before you make a commitment.
Start with compatibility. The service should be compatible with at least the most popular operating systems, such as Windows, macOS and Linux, Android, and iOS. Then, you need to determine how many devices the service supports, as well as the number of simultaneous connections it can provide. Also, you should check the number of servers available and their locations around the world. This will help you select one that is close to home or provides speedy speeds when you travel abroad.
Some services offer specialized functions, such as dedicated ‘Netflix servers’ that remove geo-restricted sites from their websites, or additional security features, like a RAM-only servers, which erase data each when the service is rebooted or switches to dark web monitoring and security features to guard against threats. Review the ownership structure of the company and determine if it has been involved in privacy scandals or data breaches in the past.
The best overall service we tested was NordVPN with its thousands of servers in 94 countries AES-256 encryption, ChaCha20 encryption, a reliable kill switch as well board of directors software as split tunneling and obfuscated servers. It’s also one of the few providers to publish its detailed no-logs policy and engages PricewaterhouseCoopers for annual audits. Its prices aren’t cheap but you do have a wide range of features and a long-term, comprehensive plan that comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.